Miller focused on task at hand

Miller focused on task at hand

Arizona is set to take on Ohio State. Read on to see what Sean Miller said about the game, West Regional as a whole, Solomon Hill, and more.

Arizona head coach Sean Miller met with the media one last time before Arizona takes on Ohio State on Thursday and, in what has been the theme this week, had plenty of positives to say about the Buckeyes.

"Well, I watch Ohio State a lot," Miller said. "I think they're a remarkable defensive team. You can admire the way they play defense. It starts not only with Aaron Craft, who I think is the best at what he does defensively.

"Shannon Scott to me doesn't get nearly enough credit. They almost have two guards that just ball hawk your team and make defense easier sometimes for their other players, but they do it really, really well. They're connected. They play with great effort, and it's amazing how well they play defense against the conference that they played in."

Although Ohio State has struggled at times on offense, Miller does not believe that is because OSU is a bad offensive team.

"On offense, it's not like they're a bad team on offense," he said. "I think they're really good. They're not as talented, maybe, as some of the most recent Ohio State teams, but they make up for it with really unselfishness and togetherness. They have a guy that gets 20 every night, Deshaun Thomas, who from a scoring perspective, is as good as it gets.

"They play together on both ends of the floor. Aaron Craft is exceptional at what he does. Deshaun Thomas is equally exceptional at what he does, and they have a lot of other good players that play Ohio State basketball."

One player that will be relied on to counter some of Ohio State's strengths is senior Solomon Hill. One way or another, Hill's career is coming to an end and Miller took some time on Wednesday to appreciate what he has done for Arizona.

"Well, I said it after the last game, Solomon Hill reminds me of Damien Wilkins, who has had a long NBA career," Miller said. "I had the opportunity to be on the staff with Damien many years ago and I say that because Solomon's greatest characteristic, like Damien's, is his will, his incredible work ethic, his competitive spirit."

Solomon Hill has earned Arizona's gold jersey for his success in practice and it could be a fitting end to his career if he is able to keep it.

"He's been our best practice player from the day he stepped on our campus as a freshman to his last days as a senior," Miller said. "Each week, and I know a lot of coaches do things like this, we reward our best practice player, statistically, every statistic that you can put into it, with a gold jersey. That player wears the gold jersey for the next week. While he has the gold jersey on, he doesn't have to run for losing and do those things.

"This week, in Solomon's final week here, where we're at, he has the gold jersey, which I think is fitting. If I'm not mistaken, he might have had it in the first month of his freshman year, so he's a terrific player, but what he embodies is really far more than that. He's a leader. He's matured off the court as much as any kid I've been around, and we're really proud of him. He deserves to be here, and I know that with him on our team, it's one of the many reasons we feel like we can advance."

Miller was also asked about the belief that the West Regional may be the weakest and the Arizona coach did not seem to mind that idea.

"If it's the worst regional, good, great," he said. "I'm glad I'm here. I mean, the thing about the tournament is nobody looks back and says, boy, what an easy road or hard road. You either advanced or you didn't; you either won and moved on. One of the things that strikes me about the tournament is that you go from what we're doing right now and the build up toward this great game that we've all hoped we could be a part of.

"Then if you lose about 15 minutes later, someone comes in and says, 'Coach, your plane will be leaving in about an hour', and the other team moves and the stage continues to grow. I don't think you can worry about who you're playing, how you got here. We're in the Sweet Sixteen. There are four teams here in the west region, and I know the team that we're playing tomorrow can win a National Championship."

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